John McLaughlin dead at 89, hosted 'The McLaughlin Group' since 1982
The McLaughlin Group
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Updated: Tuesday, August 16, 2016, 6:05 PM
John McLaughlin, the stalwart political commentator who created television’s “McLaughlin Group,” died Tuesday at his home in Virginia. He was 89.
His death came less than two days after he missed the first episode of his show in 34 years.
“As a former Jesuit priest, teacher, pundit and news host, John touched many lives,” the show’s producers wrote on Facebook.
“For 34 years, ‘The McLaughlin Group’ informed millions of Americans. Now he has said bye bye for the last time, to rejoin his beloved dog, Oliver, in heaven. He will always be remembered.”
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On Sunday his show opened with a note from McLaughlin offering his support and explaining his absence:
“Dear friends of The McLaughlin Group, Dr. McLaughlin here. As the panel’s recent absences attest, I am under the weather. The final issue of this episode has my voice, but please forgive me for its weaker than usual quality. Yet my spirit is strong and my dedication to this show remains absolute!”
The nature of his illness was not disclosed.
McLaughlin, who held a Ph.D from Columbia University, created his popular syndicated political commentary show in 1982.
It airs on PBS and a handful of CBS stations and usually featured a panel of political pundits and journalists (usually Pat Buchanan, Eleanor Clift, Clarence Page and Tom Rogan) with McLaughlin moderating the discussion from the middle.
“John McLaughlin was one of the most original and appealing television commentators of our time," said Mortimer B. Zuckerman, Chairman and Publisher of The Daily News and a frequent panelist on the program.
"The liveliness of the show 'The McLaughlin Group'was a reflection of his unique personality as well as his keen intellect, which helped to cover and uncover the numerous landscapes of opinions that steered his listeners to make qualified decisions," Zuckerman said. "I was privileged to spend many hours talking with John, on and off his show; his friendship and intelligence will be sorely missed, not only by me, but also by his many listeners, colleagues, family and friends.”
John McLaughlin in 2003.
Along with his fondness for politics and his brash, loud interview style, McLaughlin had a lighter side and named his production company after his beloved pooch, Oliver — a basset hound that he lived with at the Watergate apartment complex in Washington D.C. — when he worked as a speechwriter for President Richard Nixon.
He remembered the dog during a year-end episode of “The McLaughlin Group” in 2014 saying, "Person of the year: Pope Francis, especially now that he's told that animals can go to heaven. And Oliver is up there waiting for me."